Security at arm’s length
US–Japanese nuclear weapons cooperation
in Partners in deterrence
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Successive Japanese governments since the 1950s have had to balance the country’s security alliance with the world’s most powerful nuclear weapons state with the deep-seated anti-nuclear sentiment in Japanese society. During the Cold War, US access to the Japanese islands was a key enabler of the US’s ability to conduct global nuclear operations. Tokyo’s agreement to the covert transit of US nuclear-armed platforms and its support for US intelligence facilities on Japanese territory was aimed at reinforcing extended nuclear deterrence in the security alliance. The nuclear umbrella remains a central thread of the alliance, and the more operationally focused bilateral dialogue on extended deterrence created in 2010 built on more than forty years of political and strategic cooperation between Washington and Tokyo.

Partners in deterrence

US nuclear weapons and alliances in Europe and Asia

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